Travels: Jul 28 – 31, 2016
This road trip is dedicated to fearless Fred and the hardy bunch of motorcyclists I had the good fortune to meet some years ago in Marietta, Ohio. This well-traveled, experienced group of riders hail from many different parts of North America but come together for an annual ride at some beautiful destination throughout the country.
This year’s excursion will find us centered in Beckley, West Virginia for three days of comradery and riding pleasure in the hills and twisties of one of my favorite states. Stay tuned for more details…
Thursday, July 28, 2016
Day 1 – Heading Out
I was packed and on the road by 6:00am, heading out Rt-70 towards Harper’s Ferry then out to Winchester, WV. I decided to craft a country-roads route on the computer from my home to the hotel in Beckley, WV, then upload it to the GPS.
After a brief time on I-81 I took Rt-48 west then Rt-28 south through the mountains and Seneca Rocks (no stopping to climb Mark, lol) then on to Marlinton, WV for lunch at the Greenbrier Grille. The riding and views were great as there was a lot of twisty mountain roads on Rt-28. Dory just ate up the miles ;-)).
After a tasty lunch by a stream in Marlinton I followed the preset route to explore some more great roads before heading to my hotel In Beckley, WV. I expected nothing but rain and storms on this trip but didn’t get a drop today. I’m looking forward to seeing the guys and Friday’s ride…
After I got to the hotel I met up with some friends to catch up on the past happenings and talk about Friday & Saturday’s ride. The weather will play a big part of our weekend as it looks like storms every day. Not everyone is thrilled with the forecast and some decided to stay home. Although the rides would need to be more conservative I just enjoy getting out, rain or shine, and that’s what my rain gear is for anyway.
After dinner and drinks we decided that we’d reconvene at Friday’s breakfast to decide on Friday’s riding.
Friday, July 29, 2016
Day 2 – Friday’s Ride
After a nice breakfast at our hotel we decided to follow Saturday’s more interesting ride plan for the day. This was prompted by the unpredictability of the weather and the general feeling that Friday would be better than Saturday. While Phil and Nancy headed to the local golf course to play “18” (yes, they strap their golf bag to their motorcycle 🙂 the rest of us mounted up and headed out for the hills.
It felt so good be be out with the group again and being a very experienced group we tend to have spirited rides. While I can’t recount all the roads we were on (some of the group actually can) I will tell you that we were curving left and right, up and down and every conceivable combination of these movements. For a while the air was cool and I had a good time getting better acquainted with Dory up close and personal on some great roads. After a while we decided to stop for lunch at the same Greenbrier Grille that I visited the day before.
At the Grille we sat outside in view of the stream while enjoying some good food and fun conversation. After lunch we headed back to the mountains for more gliding through the hills. Although dark clouds were seen much of the day some ominous rain clouds grew up ahead in the direction we were traveling as we headed back to our hotel. Although my spidy-sense told me to pull over to don the rain gear we collectively decided to race the storm back. We lost and about 10 miles from the hotel it poured. So we all hunkered down behind our windshields and limped back. After a warm shower and some tumbling in the clothes dryer we were good to go (the clothes that is).
At dinner we talked about the day’s events and what’s on tap for Saturday. Due to the worsening weather part of the group decided to head back home Saturday. A handful of us decided to stay and give Saturday a try. Good thing we did as Saturday turned out to be another good riding day.
Saturday, July 30, 2016
Day 3 – Saturday’s Ride
After a hearty breakfast and some weather talk those of us that stayed headed to New River Harley Davidson for coffee and “stuff”, taking the scenic way. We happened to catch an antique car show going on at the dealership which was a nice touch. After spending some time here we took the long route back to the hotel.
As we headed back we came to a strange stretch of great twisty road with fresh blacktop that appeared to be carved into the mountains. It had some steep walls and actually reminded me of roads out in the mid-west. It was the strangest road I’d seen in a good while. Good thing it hadn’t rained as fresh asphalt tends to be slippery when wet. I’ll have to ask one of the guys what that stretch of mountain was called to put it on my redo list. Scott may remember.
Continuing on we negotiated more twisties before arriving back at our hotel. After some cleanup we decided to hit the local Pizza Hut. After some great veggie pizza we walked back to the hotel and landed in the lounge for our evening recap of events and boy has it been eventful. After drinks and conversation I headed to my room to pack some things for an early Sunday return trip. I decided to head back with Bill, Leroy and Scott who were all heading north to points in PA and NY State.
Sunday, July 31, 2016
Day 4 – Returning Home
After a 6:00am breakfast we did our final bike packing, fueled up and were off. It was a foggy, cool morning and I really enjoyed it. We generally headed up Rt19 and made our way to Rt79 heading towards Morgantown, WV. I enjoyed the leisurely pace and the great sweepers of Rt79. Eventually we stopped at the Pilot station near Morgantown to fuel up and say our goodbyes. We decided it’d been a good trip and looked forward to maybe taking a Fall ride.
As the group of three headed north up Rt79 I headed east on Rt68 back towards Baltimore. The heat started going up the further east I went, which is typical. As I made my way home I thought about the trip and how nice it was to get away. I thought about my daughters and how much they would enjoy trips like this. Although it drizzled a little on and off it never really rained on me. Amazing how much it rained everywhere but not much on me.
As I pulled into my home part of me wished I was still out there exploring in the hills. Ah well, I guess that’s what planning future trips is all about. Until the next ride… ~Dan